NFL puts stringent COVID-19 protocols in place for teams facing outbreaks


The NFL is facing its first major in-season outbreak this week after nearly a dozen members of the Tennessee Titans tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Titans’ Week 4 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers has been pushed back to Week 7. The Minnesota Vikings were also forced to shut down their facility after playing the Titans in Week 3.

In the wake of the outbreak, the NFL informed teams in a memo that new coronavirus safety measures are being put in place for teams experiencing an outbreak, like the Titans, or were exposed to a team with an active outbreak, like the Vikings.

More masks, remote meetings for NFL teams facing COVID-19 outbreaks

The memo, acquired by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, was sent to all clubs on Thursday.

Teams in the Vikings and Titans’ situation are now facing the following protocols:

  • Daily testing for all players, coaches and other important personnel before entering the team facility.

  • All meetings must be virtual.

  • Activities held outside or in large, open spaces when possible.

  • PPE or masks required for all players and staff on practice fields with no exceptions.

  • Gloves mandatory for all players on the field except for the quarterback’s throwing hand.

  • Masks and face shields required for players receiving medical treatment.

  • Masks, face shields and gloves required for medical providers.

  • No more than 10 players in the weight room at a time.

  • Daily deep cleanings for team facility.

  • No team gatherings outside the facility.

  • Daily review of close contact information with general manager and head coach.

Teams are going to want to avoid those restrictions if they can. The memo stipulates that only NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills can impose and lift the post-exposure COVID protocols.

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 27: Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel stands on the sidelines during the first quarter of the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)
Teams in the Titans' situation are going to face strict rules for coronavirus safety. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

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